The Regulation based on which the Chamber of Deputies operates will be amended and one of the envisaged changes is that the speaker may only be dismissed by written proposal of the leader of the political group he belongs to and not at the proposal of the majority. This draft decision on changing the Regulation is the first topic on the agenda of the plenary sitting on Wednesday and has received a positive report from the Regulation Commission. The vote will be final. Therefore, if adopted, the current Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea, could only be unseated at the proposal in writing of the leader of the PSD group, Marian Neacsu.
Under the Regulation the MPs now wish to change, Roberta Anastase was replaced in 2012 when USL set up a new majority in Parliament, following negotiations, and Valeriu Zgonea was elected as Speaker.
The part of the Regulation that could be amended is Section 25. The current form of the section allows the replacement of the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies or of any other member of the Standing Bureau before the expiration of their term by the vote of the majority of the MPs. The vote is secret and uses voting ballots in the case of the speaker of the Chamber and balls in the case of the members of the Standing Bureau. The dismissal proposal is to be made in writing and accompanied by the signatures of the initiators. The proposed new provision is that the speaker may be dismissed by the vote of the majority of present MPs, if the legally required quorum is fulfilled. The vote is secret and uses balls. The dismissal proposal is to be made in writing by the leader of the political group the speaker belongs to.
In addition, three paragraphs are abrogated under Section 26, which describe the procedure for the dismissal of the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies: 1) The dismissal of the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies may be proposed when the political majority in the Chamber of Deputies changes, by the majority of deputies; 2) The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies may be dismissed upon the request of a minimum of one third of the total number of deputies, in one of the following situations: he/she breaks the Romanian Constitution; seriously or repeatedly breaks the Regulation of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate; 3) The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies may be dismissed on the request of the parliamentary group he/she was proposed by. The abrogation of the above paragraphs also removes the reasons for which the speaker may be dismissed without the consent of the Legal Affairs Committee. A clear note on that is contained by the change of paragraph 4, Section 26. Whilst the current form says the Legal Committee must give its opinion on the facts the head of the deputies is accused of (breach of Constitution and Regulation), the new form no longer contains the need for obtaining the opinion of the Legal Committee.
Another important change is the one regarding the incompatibilities of deputies. Compared to the Regulation currently applicable, the possibility is given to an MP in incompatibility to choose the post he/she wants to keep, within 30 days – the one as deputy or the one that put him/her in incompatibility. Moreover, the procedure also entails requesting the position of the National Integrity Agency.
The MPs in the lower Chamber also attempted changing the Regulation last month, when a section offering a ‘super-immunity’ for MPs was introduced and caused a huge scandal. Although the provision in question was eventually removed – Marian Neacsu said at the time that it had been put in the text of the Regulation ‘in error’ – the draft decision was rejected.
Orban: ‘PSD is trying to fix Zgonea’
Ludovic Orban, the leader of the PNL deputies, said on Thursday that the Social-Democrats were ‘somewhat mentally ready’ to lose the majority in Parliament, but want to ‘fix’ Valeriu Zgonea in the leadership of the Chamber.
‘The main difference, apart from the thing with the parliamentary immunity, that we had over the Regulation of the Chamber of Deputies, was PSD’s stubbornness about the section that describes the conditions for replacing the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, which showed me that they are somewhat mentally prepared to a new majority in Parliament and are trying to fix Zgonea in case a new majority wanted to replace him’, Orban said on Thursday, according to Agerpres.
PNL Co-president Vasile Blaga said that, if the current opposition builds a majority in Parliament, it will be ‘logical’ to also take over the leadership of the two Chambers of Parliament. ‘How can you take over the governance if you don’t have the majority in the two Chambers? If you do have majority in the Chambers, logically you also need to have the leaders of the Chambers. In no democracy the opposition leads the Parliament. Where have you seen such a thing?’ Blaga said.